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Benton and Washington county officials say they expect growth to drive collection up as the deadline to pay property taxes approaches.

Property taxes support city and county governments, school districts and other entities authorized to levy property tax millages.

Tax deadline

Property taxes in Arkansas are due by Oct. 15. Since that date falls on a Sunday this year, the deadline is moved to Oct. 16. Taxpayers who fail to pay their property taxes by the deadline face a 10 percent penalty.

Source: Staff report

"I think it's probably going to be bigger than last year," said Angela Wood, Washington County collector.

The deadline to pay without penalty is Oct. 15, but since that date falls on a Sunday this year the deadline is Oct. 16. A taxpayer is subject to a 10 percent penalty if personal property taxes are not paid on or before the deadline. Real estate taxes that are delinquent are subject to a 10 percent penalty, plus interest.

Property tax collection has increased every year over the past five years, growing from about $138.5 million in 2012 to $154.2 million in 2016, according to information from Wood's office.

In Benton County, Collector Gloria Peterson also anticipates property tax revenue will grow. Collection has grown from more than $200 million in 2012 to $231 million in 2016 in the county.

County officials said the growth in property taxes reflects growth in the area and regular reappraisal of property. Roderick Grieve, Benton County assessor, said Arkansas counties are on a five-year cycle for reappraisal.

All counties add new construction and additions to properties every year, but state law sets the cycle for reappraisal, Grieve said. Since property taxes are collected a year after the value is set, the taxes for 2016, the most recent reappraisal year, will be collected this year.

"Last year was a reappraisal year and the next county-wide reappraisal will be in 2021," Grieve said. "We are doing reappraisals every year, picking up new construction and significant additions, like someone adding a sun room, a garage or a swimming pool. When 2021 comes around we will base the new values on sales of property in 2020."

Growth is driving property values up and construction adds to the tax collection every year, Grieve said.

"In 2017, we had 54 new residential developments with 1,183 lots," he said. "There were 2,119 new housing units. That all goes onto the tax rolls on Jan. 1, 2018."

Benton County Judge Barry Moehring said the county has needs for additional revenue, from roads and bridges and normal operating expenses to a new courts building, but the Quorum Court has to be cautious about planning too far ahead.

"Increasing revenues are a wonderful thing to have," Moehring said. "However, it's dangerous to bank on it being that way all the time. My goal is that we have adequate separation between our revenues and our spending to enable us to deal with any changes or economic downturns."

NW News on 10/01/2017

Print Headline: Growth boosts property tax collection

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